Tonight Claire picked her "Claire's 1st Year" photo book as her bedtime story. And as I read over the little vignettes and longer letters I included in that book I realized I couldn't remember the last time I wrote to Cora. Part of this is that I'm busier at night now- JP runs his business after 8 p.m. and I help, I can't blog during the day anymore, I exercise 3-4 nights a week... but most of it is that I seriously just can't put these months with Cora into words and the thought of trying overwhelms me so much that I push it away. And I love words, and I never push anything away! But I spend so much of each day so full of JOY that she's here and so DELIGHTED with every single thing she does that I have to at least try to write it down, if anything because in 10 years I'm not going to believe she was really this easy or awesome, so here goes:
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You turned 10 months old a few days ago and I'm overdue on writing to you. Part of this is because it's impossible to capture you, and what our family feels for you, into something as simple as words. You are our family mascot, CoraBunny. You are joy personified. You love all four of us with your whole heart and your whole smile and I'm not really joking when I laughingly tell people that you are everyone's favorite person in our house.
You are the easiest happiest baby that ever could be. When you're tired, you don't fuss, you just get a little slumpy, like your backbone can't hold you up anymore. If we're late putting you to bed, and Cora you've had special occasion bedtimes ranging from 9 p.m. to midnight, you let out a sigh and fall asleep before the sigh is even over. And then, miracle of all baby miracles, you SLEEP IN. You sleep in! You sleep until you've gotten enough sleep to be happy all day and then you wake up with smiles and squeals of delight, ready to smile your way through another wonderful day.
You are as flexible about mealtimes as you are about bedtime. You eat very well with your fingers, you have loved every big people food we've given you- I can't even pick a favorite because you love it all, and you are thrilled to get to use a sippy cup during meals. In fact, when we first let you try a sippy cup, you decided to refuse your bottles because you were so excited to drink out of a cup like a big kid. Any time you do anything big-kiddish, your smile is extra huge. If I wasn't so determined to keep you a baby for as long as possible, I'd let you do every big kid thing I could think of just to see your whole face light up with pride. You know, you know when you're doing something your big brother and sister do and you clearly keep track of it. But slow down, because as Landon and Claire lamented this afternoon after helping your dad with about 3 hours of yardwork- being a baby is very awesome and yardwork-free.
Speaking of Landon and Claire, they adore you Corabear. They are as delighted with you as the day we brought you home. They are your biggest cheerleaders and applaud your every little advancement. They both like to walk you to bed and give you kisses and hugs and toys and whatever else you could possibly need. When you go on walks in the pram at school, your teacher always takes you by Claire's class and apparently your screams of joy are deafening. When you see Landon- whether it's been 5 seconds for 5 hours, you flap your hands so hard you fall over, and when you see me you make these awful gasping noises because you are so excited you're maybe forgetting to breathe. But your dad gets your biggest reaction- if it's a noise you can make or move you can do, you do it all whenever you see him. You're also oddly obsessed with his sunglasses and you scream in delight every time he puts them on in the morning. He's like your personal rock star.
You are super tall, averagely chubby, and small headed. You've had a few colds and two ear infections (oh, and pink eye, that was fun), but in general, we only see the doctor for your check-ups. You crawled absurdly early, are very steady on your feet but strangely uninterested in walking, and transitioned yourself to one 3-hour nap a day around 9 months old. Water is your favorite thing and anytime we can't find you, there's a 90% chance you're in our master shower. In fact, anytime anyone in our house takes a shower, we usually strip you down and let you crawl in to join just because you love it so much, so you are the very cleanest of babies. This morning when I turned off the water, you blinked the droplets free from your eyes (you like to sit on the drain and stare right up at the spray), saw it was off, and burst into tears. We can't even let you in the bath because you dive under water so fast and so often you nearly drown even though I'm 6 inches away.
Your other favorite things include: your feet, everything chewy, your pink walker, your dad's sunglasses, music, the play kitchen and all of its food, anything your big siblings have touched or are touching, and the big kid playroom in our house. You aren't allowed in the playroom unsupervised, but there's a whole other level of joy anytime you're in the vicinity because you know it's a sacred big kid space and you want to do big kid things SO BAD.
Before you were born I worried a little that you would be a bit on the outside. Landon and Claire are so close and the age gap between you seems so big right now, and we had such a good thing going as a family of four. It was so good it made us want more while also being a little wary of messing it up. But oh Cora, you ARE our family, just as much as any other member. At only 10 months old you are utterly irreplaceable and I cannot believe we almost let ourselves think that we were done at four. Not that something was missing, because it wasn't, but now we are more. More of everything good and fun and smiley and there is so much love it almost overwhelms me. It's in the little things- like playing games tonight on the floor with the big kids and you crawling around in circles wanting to join in so badly and all of us laughing at your ingenuity in crawling under elbows and over legs; you squealing in delight when you wake up, and then patiently waiting until someone comes to say hi to you and then squealing even louder when they do; our family dinners with you diligently attacking your food and randomly looking up and smiling at us like you're just so delighted to be here; the way you always look thrilled to be part of whatever we're doing. And the joy you bring to us is quadrupled and turned back on you. It's amazing you can even contain it.
We love you so much Corabear. The highest compliment I can give you is that I truly do wish you could stay a baby for the next five years or so, but I know we've only scratched the surface on the fun we're going to have with you and I look forward to your squeals and screams and big belly laughs every day along the way.